COVENTRY motorists fined for using city bus gates could be in line for a reimbursement after it has emerged the bus gates (pictured) were wrongly signposted.
More than 13,000 drivers were caught driving through the bus gates – designated sections of road at Park Road, Greyfriars Green and Gosford Street and collectively fined nearly £400,000 by Coventry City Council.
However, after it emerged the Department of Transport (DfT) made a technical error and wrongly authorised the signs, the Council has agreed to refund affected drivers.
Council figures reveal 1,780 drivers were caught driving through the Park Road bus gate at the interchange with Quinton Road; 9,099 issued penalty charge notices (PCNs) for driving down Warwick Road near Greyfriars Green; and 2,403 motorists caught at the Gosford Street bus gate.
And assuming each motorist paid the £30 penalty fee, rather than the higher £60 fee if not paid within 14 days, the council is in line to pay out £398,460.
Councillor Jayne Innes, cabinet member for city services said: “Following a recent announcement concerning a Department of Transport error with signs at the Park Road bus gate, we can now confirm that bus gates at Greyfriars Green and Gosford Street are also affected.
“This is because all of the signs were covered by one approval.
“Between December 10, 2015 and April 21, 2016 we issued tickets at all three locations in good faith.
“But now it’s clear that the signs were not authorised due to an error made by the DfT.
“I have called for a full and urgent investigation into what went wrong and where we go from here.”
The bus gate signs were initially installed in August 2014, and were re-authorised by the DfT on December 10 last year.
However, in an interview with the BBC, Coun Innes claimed the re-authorisation letter was littered with typos and administrative errors, meaning the bus gates were de-authorised.
The signs were re-authorised on April 22 this year, however this meant any motorist who had been fined for driving through a bus gate between December 10, 2015 and April 21, 2016 had been wrongly charged.
Expressing her anger at the situation arising from a DfT typing error, Coun Innes added: “It’s important we keep the bus gates as they are about road safety.
“I think it’s right and proper that DfT having caused this mess actually help us find the solution and help us pay this money back to Coventry City Council tax payers.
“We will give the money back to affected motorists, but we will fight to recoup that money from the DfT so that our city does not lose out.”
A Department of Transport spokesperson confirmed it was in discussion with Coventry council, arguing it would be ‘inappropriate’ to comment further.
Motorists fined for using any of the three bus gate between December 10, 2015 and April 21, 2016, can claim a refund by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or writing to Parking Services Team, PO Box 3943, Coventry, CV1 9AF – include your name, address, registration number or PCN number, and how you paid your fine.